For those of you just stopping in to read about the Cruisers’ Ragnar DC experience, you can catch up by clicking on Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 to check out my three previous posts.

We’ll pickup right after Van 2 finished their overnight legs and were enjoying some down time before hitting the roads and trails for our final legs into National Harbor.  Our first stop in transit to our next exchange was at Dunkin’ Donuts so we could get some breakfast and coffee.

We drove to Bethesda, MD to what we thought was Major Exchange 30 to wait for Van 1 to finish their legs.  We settled in, took naps behind the van, and just chilled in general.

RagnarDCFourSleepingBags
At some point, I suggested to Roger that since Candy was so speedy and had a 2-mile leg coming up that we needed to make sure the van could get me to the next exchange before she got there.  Sometimes the runner’s route is more direct than the van’s, so the driver has to hustle.  Roger started looking at directions to our different exchanges and realized that we were at Candy’s exchange to me, not Ravi’s hand-off to Candy.  In other words, we were one exchange ahead of where we needed to be.

We woke the sleeping runners, and sped away to drop Candy off at the correct exchange. We immediately turned around to get me back to where I needed to be, our original spot.

Around that time, we got word that Van 1 was rocking their legs, and would be handing back to us way ahead of schedule.  Van 1 finished 53 minutes ahead of schedule, with each of their runners beating their projected times by at least five minutes!  Now it was up to Van 2 to maintain that lead.

We heard that many of the signs for Leg 31 (Candy’s leg) had been moved overnight and runners were getting lost.  Candy memorized her turns and even tore her directions out of the RagMag to carry with her.  She started her final leg at 11:23 AM, and completed her 2.0-mile run (Ragnar rated: easy) with an average pace of 9:30, and was back at our exchange in no time.

RagnarRelayCandyFinishing

Photo courtesy of Roger

Candy came in at 11:42 AM, and slapped the wrist band on to me for the final time…

RagnarDCCandysFinalExchangeToDeb

Photo courtesy of Meagan

And I took off…

RagnarDCDebStartingFinalLeg

Photo courtesy of Roger

The first quarter mile of my leg was a nice little downhill, but once I got to the bottom of the hill, I had to stop for a long traffic light, and wait to cross the street with a bunch of other runners.  Once across the street, we turned onto the Capital Crescent Trail, and I easily passed about three runners right away.

RagnarDCDebFinalLeg

Photo courtesy of Roger

We continued on the Capital Crescent Trail, for about three miles were I was able to maintain about a 8:30 pace.  I was running pretty much alone except for the occasional recreational runner heading toward me.  I think I passed two runners, and two runners passed me on this section of the leg.  As I neared the end of the trail, I open my SPIbelt to get some Honey Stingers out and accidentally turned my RunKeeper off.  Since I wasn’t wearing my contacts or eyeglasses, I looked at the screen wrong and deleted my times.  I took a few seconds (which seemed like forever) to start the app again, and took off.

We turned off of the paved trail and onto the dirt and gravel C&O Canal tow path for a mile.  There was another race on the trail, so we kept meeting marathoners coming toward us.  I looked up and suddenly there was my MRTT running buddy Dora coming toward me!  Obviously we didn’t have time to stop and chat, but it was great seeing her!

Even though I’d studied the elevation chart for my run, I didn’t realize how hard my final two miles would be.  We turned off of the C&O Canal, and immediately started climbing the hills in Arlington.  My sleep-deprived, tired-legged body was not amused to see those hills.  At least three people passed me as I slowed to a walk at a couple of different points along my run.

I had one last nasty hill, and then the terrain leveled off so I could run in with dignity to the exchange to slap Meagan’s wrist with the arm band at 12:49 PM.

RagnarDCDebsFinishingUpTheHill

RagnarDCDebsFinalExchangeToMeagan

Photo courtesy of Roger

I’ve never been so happy!

RagnarDCDebFinishedArmsUp

Photo courtesy of Roger

I finished my 6.9-mile run (Ragnar rated: hard) with an average pace of 9:51.  My total elevation gain was 591 feet, and my total elevation loss was 591 feet, but looking at the elevation chart below, the gains seem much more dramatic than the losses.  My mile splits were:

  • Mile 1 – 9:04
  • Mile 2 – 8:30’ish
  • Mile 3 – 8:30’ish
  • Mile 4 – 8:50
  • Mile 5 – 12:07
  • Mile 6 – 11:58
  • Mile 7 – 12:18

RagnarLeg32ElevationChart
Meanwhile, our Van 1 teammates were enjoying a well-deserved beer at the finish line festivities while they waited for us.  If you remember, they had to be in Maryland on Friday at 8 AM, and we didn’t have to arrive until 1:20 PM.

RagnarDCVan1Beer

Photo courtesy of Murali

 

At 1:09 PM, Meagan finished her 2.2-mile run (Ragnar rated: easy) with an average pace of 9:19.  We barely got Chuck to the exchange before Meagan came cruising in.  It was raining hard when Meagan finished, and I caught her enjoying a Gatorade once she dried off a little.

RagnarDCMeaganGatorade
Chuck ran through heavy rain during his entire final leg.  He finished his 7.2-mile run (Ragnar rated: hard) with an average pace of 9:18, and finished with no one to hand off to.  We were snug and dry in the vain, and incorrectly estimated Chuck’s finish time.  It was also one of the few times that we weren’t able to park within an easy view of the exchange, so we didn’t see him finish, and he couldn’t find our van.  He wandered around for about 10 to 15 minutes before finding Barry.

At 2:29 PM Barry started his final leg.  He finished his 4.4-mile run (Ragnar rated: easy) with an average pace of 9:46, and handed off to Bill in Old Town Alexandria.

RagnarDCBarryFinalExchangeToBill

Photo courtesy of Meagan

Bill took off for the final leg of the Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay team at 3:12 PM on Saturday afternoon.  Ahead of him was a 4.6-mile run (Ragnar rated: moderate), which would take him across the Potomac River on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.  I was more than a little jealous that he would be running across the WW Bridge!

RagnarDCBillStartingFinalLeg

Photo courtesy of Meagan

The rest of us hopped into the van to drive to National Harbor to meet Bill.  We knew that our Van 1 teammates would be waiting for us at the pier, and that Bill would be running toward us.  Van 2’s goal was to park, and get over there before Bill came running in so we could all finish together.

RagnarDCFinishLineFromDistance
With only about three minutes to spare, we got to the pier in time to see Bill running down the boardwalk toward us.

RagnarDCBillFinishingNationalHarbor
We all took off running with Bill (I was screaming with my arms waving), and we crossed the finish line as a team!

RagnarDCCruisersAlmostFinished

Photo courtesy of Roger

We finished at 3:57 PM, and with that, the Cruisers became Ragnarians!

RagnarDCCruisersCrossingFinishLIne

Photo courtesy of Roger

As soon as we crossed the finish line, we posed for the official photo, and then moved down the chute and out of the way of other finishers and posed again for Roger to take this picture with a few different cameras.  A lady stopped by and asked if she could take our picture as well, and then told me that she’d be posting it to Ragnar’s Instagram.

RagnarTeamFinishPhoto

Photo courtesy of Meagan

The Cruisers finished in 30 hours, 59 minutes, and 14 seconds (1:09:00 ahead of our projected time). We finished 130th out of 369 teams, and had the following stats:

Placement:  130
Team Name:  Cruisers Rockin’ The Relay
Team Type:  Regular
Classification:  Mixed
Division:  Open
Start Time:  9:00:00
Finish Time:  30:59:14
Pace:  9:16
 
 
RagnarDCTeamWithRagnarBackDrop

Photo courtesy of Anne

Back at our van, we checked off our final legs before hitting the highway to head home.

RagnarDCVan2AllLegsCheckedOff
From the van, I checked Instagram and was tickled to see our happy team on Ragnar Relay’s page.

RagnarDCRagnarRelayCruiserIGPost
And with that, the Cruisers were not only Ragnarians, but celebrities as well!  See you next year, Ragnar!

RagnarMedal
 

  • Questions:
  • Would you choose to sleep in the van or on the ground?
  • After reading my posts, are you ready to run a relay?
  • Have you ever run Ragnar DC, another Ragnar, or similar relay?

 

Happy Running! ~ Deb